For a young girl, the preschool and kindergarten years are exciting times full of new friends and new experiences. In these critical early years, educators agree: future academic success comes from the foundation of strong social and emotional skills. Girl Scouts can be the perfect place to build these valuable skills, according to Ruth Wilson, director of recruitment with Girl Scouts of Southeastern Michigan.
“Our research shows clearly that girls who are involved with Girl Scouts tend to have more academic success, especially where it comes to problem solving and tackling tough challenges,” Wilson says. “It’s so important for girls to have positive early experiences and they can have these as young Daisies.”
Here, we share four best benefits of becoming a Daisy for girls just starting their preschool or kindergarten year.
1. Daisy friends become sisters
When young girls become Daisies, they join together on common ground and are encouraged to participate in a way that builds a sense of sisterhood, Wilson explains.
“The Girl Scout Law begins with ‘I will do my best to be honest and fair,’ and finishes with ‘and to be a sister to every Girl Scout,'” she says. “They are all encouraged to be sisters. And they participate in activities that recognize all of them equally.”
By becoming a Daisy, girls also have the opportunity to extend their friend group beyond school to girls they may not meet otherwise, Wilson says.
“When they join a troop, they might be with girls from their neighborhood or girls from different schools. It breaks them out of their typical groups of friends,” she says.
2. She builds a sense of accomplishment
A big part of Girl Scouts is earning badges, and this extends to Daisies. “The Daisy earns petals and this is based on stories and activities within the stories,” Wilson shares. “It might be a story about a girl planting flowers, which might be a story about growth and strength.”
Stories might encourage a Daisy to take an interest in the world around her. “The activities can be about civic involvement and include writing to city council to help deal with a local issue, for example,” Wilson says. “It gets the girls involved. They read a story and do the activities and it’s a fun thing in a troop.”
Earning a badge or a petal is recognition for hard work and offers a sense of accomplishment in achieving something. “It’s a big deal to earn a petal, a patch or a badge,” Wilson says.
3. Learning in an all-girl environment
The all-girl environment has been a highly successful place for young learners. Because not everyone can attend an all-girl school, Girl Scouts provides girls the opportunity to spend time just with other girls, Wilson says.
Girls can feel comfortable speaking their mind when they are among peers, and they’re more likely to voice their opinions, too.
“Girls who are quiet in co-ed environments tend to blossom in an all-girl environment,” she says. “There’s something to be said for this and it’s really special to see.”
4. Flexibility in Girl Scout experiences
In recent times, the typical Girl Scout troop model has expanded to include new ways to experience being a Girl Scout. In addition to joining a physical troop, girls can join a virtual Girl Scout community — or they can become individual Girl Scouts.
“We call individual Girl Scouts ‘Juliettes,’ which is after Juliette ‘Daisy’ Low, the pioneer founder of Girl Scouts of the USA,” Wilson says.
Juliettes participate as individuals and their families can participate in activities with their Juliette. They can go camping and work on badges on their own or with a friend. Their parents don’t have to be highly skilled or highly involved, but they do have to support their Juliette, Wilson says.
For some families, COVID provides the opportunity to begin as a Juliette and participate in outdoor activities close to home or right in their backyard. “This can be a great thing for families. We know from experience that families are doing activities with their girls that they would never have done otherwise. It’s the new face of Girl Scouts,” Wilson says.
“If your daughter is starting kindergarten, they can begin with a troop now and have a chance to participate in all the fun Daisy activities during the summer,” Wilson says.
Learn more about becoming a Daisy and Girl Scouts of Southeastern Michigan at gssem.org.